Posted December 19, 2003
Is there any way that Antiwar.com could get a graphical representation of the war dead for its "casualties of war" section? It seems to me that a line graph of "deaths vs. time" showing total dead and combat dead on a given date would give us a better idea of the ebb and flow of casualties. It seems to me that the number of deaths in December is still pretty high, even though lower than November, and a graph would make examining trends easier.
Mike Ewens replies:
I used to have this type of graph available. However, it was far from enlightening; just a straight line upwards. The deaths per day has stayed fairly constant at 1.5ish for a while (not counting the helicopter attacks).
Lunaville.org found a way to make the graph a but more... dramatic: make it month by month: http://lunaville.com/warcasualties/Timelines.aspx.
Do you know where I might find the dollar cost of one dead US soldier? Insurance pay-out, repatriation expenses, funeral, survivor benefits, replacement training, etc.? I would gather that the cost would differ between enlisted, non-com and commissioned. What you think?
Mike Ewens replies:
What's a billion or two more?: http://www.costofwar.com/.
I can't say that I have seen any numbers like this floating anywhere on the net. However, I suppose that the best estimation will be an ex post look at the veteran's affairs' budget, say in two years. Also, perhaps the cost could be extrapolated from comparing this part of the DoD's budget next year with that of non-war years.
Do you know how many US soldiers died in the Afghan war?
Mike Ewens replies:
Eighty-nine. See: http://lunaville.org/OEF/default.aspx.
My morning begins with Antiwar.com, now more than ever because in the last few weeks, since the US has begun its aggressive attacks again, the news of our GI's seems neither to lead the evening news nor even lead the headlines in the New York Times. All we are mostly given is how the insurgents are being defeated and the progress we are making. I am always stunned and taken aback when I learn in a blurb or a quick by line that one or two a day of our GI's are still being killed, but I must sift the paper to find it and sometimes I never do. I am ever more frightened of the silence of these tragedies and how this silence is won.
This afternoon around 1:00, I logged on to search for any deaths on Antiwar.com and was relieved to see none. I read the top three stories, then scrolled to the op ed's, then scrolled down further and to my horror, I found an article that two more GI's were killed. Please, please do not fall into the silence of the rest of the media and leave the tragic deaths last page news. I think Antwar.com should lead every day with the story of a death if there is one. I follow the war and the media closely and I am not learning of deaths except by chance. Please lead the news with our soldiers status so America knows. Please never put in smaller print that someone lost their son or dad or daughter or mother or brother or sister or friend.
Mike Ewens replies:
We always have news about the deaths of G.I.'s on our "Casualties in Iraq" page: https://antiwar.com/ewens/casualties.html.
I love Raimondo, but there are times when he would do well to just shut the hell up. For all his prose excitement, he can be a predictable bore. Saddam is captured, and it's a good thing. Deal with it.
Justin Raimondo replies:
This may bore you, too, but it's a risk I'll just have to take: I don't give a flying f*ck about Saddam being captured. I just don't think the chance to ritually shave and humiliate an Arab leader was worth $87 billion or a single American death.
Good column, as always. One caveat: You, like everybody else in America except a handful of Arabists like me, missed the full significance of Saddam's humiliation:
Saddam was hiding in his "spider hole," we are told, he had a gun but chose not to "go down fighting." The emphasis on Saddam's personal cowardice is meant to rub in the weakness of Arab resistance to the American conquerors.
What Americans don't seem to understand is that the televised humiliation of former Arab head of state has just created many millions of potential recruits for al-Qaeda and its "leaderless resistance" spin-offs by pushing the level of resentment of American arrogance over the boiling point, and driving home three simple, obvious lessons:
I have lived in the Arab world, follow the Arab media, watched the breaking news of Saddam's capture on al-Jazeera, and can testify that the dominant reaction to Saddam's humiliation in the Arab and Islamic worlds is humiliation, festering rage, and the determination to either exact revenge, or at least do everything possible to make sure that such humiliations will stop and never happen again.
Americans' refusal to even admit the other side's viewpoint into conscious awareness represents a level of cluelessness so monumental it staggers the imagination.
Your article describes how the pendulum is swinging towards the pragmatists and realists within the administration, about time too! However, the fact that the idiotic agenda of the ideologues held sway in the Oval Office for so long is a testament to the ignorance and ineptitude of President Bush regarding Middle East policy.
A strong, erudite leader would have asked the pointed questions that would have revealed the hidden agenda, flawed plan, and exposed the numerous variables that would lead to a lose /lose situation in Iraq. The damage wrought by the Pentagon ideologues has killed and maimed thousands, they should be held accountable for malfeasance.
Jim Lobe replies:
The war against Iraq is a war crime in that there is no legal justification. Not one of the three reasons justifying war under the UN Charter has been met, or was even close to being met. But the "winner" is never prosecuted.
Nebojsa Malic replies:
I do believe that, for all the excuses and justifications proferred both before and after the invasion, the attack on Iraq was a crime against peace. It is perhaps the measure of our times that the Empire perpetrates such fell deeds while its 'tribunals' deal out judgment in the name of justice, freedom and human rights.
The congressman is on point, and accurately reflects what many Republicans used to think prior to the takeover of the neocons. This is a new breed of Republican indeed.
Anyone who doubts the imperial goals and ambitions of the neocon influenced administration should look no further than their own website: http://www.newamericancentury.org. Click on the Statement of Principles, read the message which is an intellectual defense of American imperialism, and then look at the signatories at the bottom of the page. It is chilling:
Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush,, Dick Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis Libby, Norman Podhoretz, Dan Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz.
The statement of goals is a virtual roadmap for our invasion of Iraq underwritten by many of the prime movers of the Iraq conflict. Now note the date of the publication: JUNE 3, 1997. Sorry, this imperialistic argument predates 9/11 (which supposedly was the trigger that changed everything about US foreign policy by more than five years).
As for the means to achieve their ends, look no further than the Valerie Plame affair where a CIA agent was outed for political reasons. I would hope that under Reagan, Bush Sr., or possibly a McCain, that we would have seen outrage at the level of the Presidency. Sadly, we saw bureaucratic cover-up instead of Presidential outrage directed at a dangerous and criminal disclosure of an undercover agent in the CIA.
And as for the national debt, please. Our Republican Party has outdone the worst of the Democrat taxers and spenders, all the while smugly touting the lie about which party overspends. When Reagan spent on defense, we knew why he was doing it. I defy anyone to justify the spending habits of the neocon-influenced administration on any grounds other than the stated imperialistic goals. What happened to the blunt but honest style of Reagan? Does anyone miss it?
I keep waiting for the right person and the right moment to say: Mr. President, have you no shame?
I have very serious reservations about Howard Dean as presidential material, but I am confused by Justin Raimondo's dislike for the "lying S.O.B." specifically because of his reservations about a quick exit from Iraq. Mr. Dean spoke out against the Iraq involvement before it began, but has since indicated that a quick exit would be a mistake. Pat Buchanan also spoke out against the war, but in a November 19, 2003, piece featured on Antiwar.com, warned that:
"A rapid pullout would risk a bloodbath against all who cast their lot with America, civil war in Iraq and a humiliation more devastating to U.S. credibility than the fall of Saigon. Should Iraq collapse, Bush would risk defeat in 2004 and enter the history books as a failed president who had blundered into the most ill-conceived war in US history."
Do such comments also make Mr. Buchanan a lying S.O.B.? ...
Perhaps Mr. Dean has indeed embraced the position Hillary Clinton argued on "Meet the Press": that more troops are needed, and may be needed for a very long time, but I have not heard him state this, nor read such comments that were attributed to him. ...
Isn't it possible that while developing and acting upon an exit strategy is the best plan, this does not entail an immediate evacuation of Iraq?
Dean promised to "tear up the doctrine of preemptive war." No other candidate save Kucinich has made a comparable pledge. Dean may not be perfect, but he's the only game in town in 2004. I find it incredible that he might actually get the nomination, which means that he might actually beat Bush. C'mon now, lighten up on Dean. Cut him a little slack. He's the best chance we have to reverse the disastrous policies (perpetual war, Patriot Act, etc.) of the last few years.
Now that Boortz has outed you as a secret member of the communist party, maybe you can also admit now to having had furtive contact with members belonging to that other clandestine front for the Communist Internationale, The John Birch Society which likewise is relentlessly attacking banana republic dictator el Presidente Jorge II and his handlers for their unconstitutional belligerence.
Neal Boortz accuses Justin of being a commie because Justin is against the Iraqi "WAR."
What a JERK Boortz is. I fought as a US Marine Corps machine gunner in W.W. II, contracted malaria in Guadalcanal, and shrapnel in Guam, and I am TOTALLY against Stupid Bush's "war" in Iraq.
Does that make ME a commie?
Did I say Boortz was a Jerk? I really meant an ass.
Incidentally, how much combat time defending America does that ASS Boortz have?
Check out this cheap shot (a.k.a neocon-style smear tactic) by Boortz:
"Justin Raimondo doesn't particularly like me. He doesn't like me because I approve of our actions in Iraq. Fair enough. Do you know who else doesn't like our Iraqi actions? Well, communists, for one. The chairman of those antiwar protests in London is the leader of the British communist party. So ... is it a bit odd that Raimondo's rants against me show up in a Pravda chat room?"
Oh! So now Justin Raimondo is a commie huh? Never mind that his article was reproduced without his permission and this site was denounced by Raimondo himself. His article appeared on their chat room and that's all the readers need to know. Raimondo's view's are the same as the British Communist Party leader's so Raimondo is probably a communist too. Nice. Is there any low that these chickenhawk, neocon, pseudo-libertarians (or as Stromberg would say liberventionists) won't stoop to?
Anyway thanks for exposing Boortz for what he is. As a former LP member, I'm fed up with fake libertarians such as Boortz and Larry Elder. As long as the Libertarian Party allows itself, due to a total lack of integrity, to be represented by slimeballs such as these I will never take them seriously and they will not get my support or money either.
Eric Margolis, in his article Who's Really in Charge at the White House?, brings up the same question that has been running through my mind. Namely, who is in charge of the Bush administration? Bush goes out and tries to repair some of the broken relationships with the Europeans and he is immediately undercut by the boys in the Pentagon. ...
This also follows in line with the article The Bush Administration Quarantines Dissent by James Bovard that tells of how free speech zones are created some distances from Bush wherever he happens to be appearing so that he will not see any protesters. I suspect that this is not Bush himself that is doing this but that he is being insulated from as much dissent as possible by the people in his administration. Since he admits that he seldom reads the news or books one can see how he could be totally unaware of the fact that large groups of people disagree with his policies. It also explains his expressed amazement when he witnessed large groups of protesters. on a recent trip to Singapore.
Bush is the bubble boy president who moves about in an insulated zone that protects him from reality. It is quite obvious that he his in charge of very little that goes on around him and that makes his administration all the more scary as they run roughshod over the world, setting up their American imperium.
You, like a great many people, seem to think that sneaking in and out of Baghdad Airport means that Dubya the deserter is a brave man. May I ask how you square that assessment with the trouble (and taxpayer expense) he went to as a younger man to avoid even the possibility of service in Vietnam? He, like every member of the cabal of chickenhawks that are his senior advisors, seems to this Nam vet to be so much more warlike when someone else does the fighting that I would swear that he's as yellow as a man can be.
Allow me to thank you for all your enlightened articles. I hope that many other voices will have the courage to raise and stop a tragedy that a few bunch of warmongers are leading the world into. Going back to the teachings of America's forefathers will save a lot of unnecessary loss of life, Americans as well as foreigners.
I have to wonder what is meant by a fair trial for Saddam? Under our legal system in the US you can't be tried under ex post facto laws. So if we want the Iraqis to follow our example, unless what Saddam did while president was illegal under Iraqi law at the time, there is nothing that can be done to him under Iraqi law. Under Iraqi law at the time Saddam was in power what limits, if any, were placed on his office? If none again I would think what he did was legal at the time and so he can't touched under Iraqi law and would have to face an international tribunal. Now of course all this would cause George W. to have to follow international law which we know he has no regard for.
I couldn't agree more! I'm a Vietnam vet who knows a little about what Mr. Reese wrote here. The parallels are so clear here that it's frightening to me. Is this what we fought for a government that is fast eroding our freedom and starting to look more fascist than democratic?
Writing American Wounded
It is not too late to send a Christmas Card or letter to veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan. The address is:
The people at the Red Cross will distribute the letters to our wounded veterans.
I must have missed the fine print of the Geneva Convention, where it states that the United States is exempt from following what is stated within.
If it doesn't say that then we are quite obviously breaking yet another one of the rules set out by this document that we signed onto.
I recall the outrage that our government and the people of the US had when photos and video of our soldiers captured by the Iraqi army were shown on Al Jazera, then rebroadcast by our own media. How upset people were that Iraq was not following the Geneva Convention. (By the way, they never signed on to this document.)
Yesterday, everywhere I looked there were photos and video of Saddam Hussein. Now, I am very glad that this man has been captured, but it seems to me that our government has broken yet another of the rules that it bellows are being broken by other nations.
While it was the media outlets that continually broadcast these images all day long, it was the DOD that put them out to begin with, and continued to do so in their numerous briefings.
I can hear the DOD now: We needed to prove to people that we had indeed captured Saddam!
OK, for just one moment lets look at this reasoning. You produce one photo of the man, then, follow up with more information on why you know it is him. Is there really a need to show every detail of what has happened to this individual since his capture? I think that is why the rule was put into the Geneva Convention. So nations would not belittle individuals. No matter who they are! A POW is a POW. If this were our President, how angry would our nations people be? ...
I know I will receive much flack for saying that our Government and media should not be denigrating Saddam. But either we follow the Geneva Convention that we expect other nations to follow, or we put our own POW's in more danger because we don't follow the Convention so other nations feel they do not have to either.
We can't have it both ways!
Thank you, thank you so much for Scott's report. I'll be emailing it to friends. As a professionally trained journalist (The American University, class of 1989) I am disgusted with the sellout of professional responsibility by the "kept press."
To we residents of the "hinterland," the Internet is the ONLY way we have to access the facts. The local newspaper, part of the Newhouse Chain, fervently backs the war and Bush at every turn. The tv stations are even worse.
I can tell you that out here there a silent turning against Bush that is going on. Among my friends and acquaintances, I can think of only ONE who backs the war. A friend who is a die-hard Republican announced to me this morning that he has washed his hands of Bush. Of the people I know professionally, attorneys, I know many who opposed this war who don't fit the stereotypical antiwar person they wear pinstripe suits and defend insurance companies. They are sickened and appalled by this disastrous undertaking.
Keep up the excellent work.
As an ESL tutor for 4 years, I can assure you that:
a) The first example of an Iraqi email is NOT real. She uses intermediate /advanced English verb tense in some places, uses articles like "the" in some places, but then resumes her simple present tense, crude grammar in others. You either know these things or not especially when you are writing it down when you are learning English (and obviously this author isn't supposed to appear fluent). It is easier to learn to write English than it is to speak it because you have time to think and review your writing. Perhaps, it is possible that she is learning through total English immersion I can't comment on that (even in the US these people go home and speak their first language generally).
But I don't see where she would do this in Iraq unless she married a US soldier and that should have been disclosed to us if true.
b) The second example could ONLY have been written by someone who had lived in the US for years. Period. No native Iraqi, who had been living in Iraqi for his entire life could write like that unless, recently, he had just ended his university training in the US (and had been nearly fluent in English prior to that) or had attended an American University (with prior near fluency) and since that time has been speaking with his old American friends weekly or more.
I say this because his English /American jargon is speech jargon, it is up to date, and you can't retain that high level of jargon without constant practice if it wasn't your native tongue and you don't have the opportunity to practice. This would make him more likely a former Iraqi exile if he is Iraqi at all.
Congressman Ron Paul is well-meaning and I commend and admire all of his efforts for peace and non-interventionism, despite phenomenal odds.
In his endorsement of the Geneva Accords (GA) he states he is not aware of the detail of the Accords. Past accords with Israel have shown, however, that the details are precisely where one should look. Paul states that the GA were "conceived and written by representatives of both sides of the conflict, but without the involvement of governments or politicians". Yossi Beilin, Israeli architect of GA, isn't exactly from the Israeli people either; he was an important actor in the Israeli government that spawned the disastrous Oslo accord, a treaty which sought, as Camp David II and the "generous offer" revealed, to create a Palestinian state divided into disconnected islands, dominated by Israel. GA is merely a slightly improved edition of Oslo /Camp David II, not radically different one. Significantly, like its predecessor, it doesn't even meet basic human rights and justice for the Palestinians.
Not only "extremist Arab organizations that have a special interest in continuing the violence" have rejected the GA, but also those interested in basic justice for the Palestinians the party overwhelmingly wronged and victimized in this conflict. Like in the case of Oslo, or its countless miserable offspring, some of the details of the GA are vague, and one can only assume that this is deliberate (or that its architects are naïve and gullible). Each vagueness on any contentious issue means that that issue will be settled in favor of the overwhelmingly stronger party Israel.
While the GA seems like an improvement on Camp David II, it is still lacking in true sovereignty for Palestinians. Israel will maintain dominance, it seems, and will keep half to most settlers in place, certainly those in what it calls E. Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be divided along "cultural and religious lines", the GA says. Who can argue with that, right? Until we recognize that so dividing Jerusalem is euphemism for Israel getting to keep whatever it managed to colonize by force and by expropriation of Palestinian land in that Area over the past 36 years. Most /all of E. Jerusalem settler-colonists (200,000 of them) will remain. And of course West Jerusalem, emptied of its Palestinian population in 1948 if off limit for Palestinians, or their "cultural lines".
Israel will keep monitoring stations inside Palestinian land, and the Palestinian "state" will be demilitarized. The premise here is that fear of the other is in one direction: powerful Israel is afraid of the weak Palestinians, which is far from true and almost completely the opposite of the facts. And who will stop Israel from entering the future Palestinian "state" when the former claims it is going in to look for terrorists? Answer: The same parties that stopped its regular violation of Lebanese airspace and its recent bombardment of Syria (i.e., no one).
All in the name of Israeli security, which is placed at the center of the GA, rather than justice and the wrong done Palestinians which is the real core of conflict. And there lies the GA profound unfairness.
Why can't the Palestinians have monitoring stations in Israel? After all, for every devastation committed by a Palestinian suicide bombing, a preceding and manifold larger devastation has been wreaked on Palestinian society by Israel. Why can't the Palestinians have at least some defensive weapons against tanks? Are we to assume that the nuclear superpower that Israel will be cowering in fear of some antitank and antiaircraft weaponry? Or perhaps the architects of the GA recognize its basic flaws that they see a future Palestinian rebellion and ensuing Israeli suppression as inevitable?
The GA talks about 1-to-1 land-swap (as opposed of the 9-to-1, in favor of Israel, offered in Camp David II). The land that Israel will maintain will almost certainly be the one where its largest settlements are built, and the same land that is rich in water. In return, the Palestinians will most probably get a desert patch next to Gaza.
Among others, three fundamental issues will likely be resolved unfairly for the Palestinians under the GA similar to what the GA's earlier editions did:
Only thing different between this accord and the Oslo /Camp David II is that Israel's remote control of Palestinians will now operate at a farther distance but that the control will remain, to ensure Israeli security of course, and the Palestinian state will be stunted, at the mercy of Israel.
All of these contortions and acrobats of the GA are a byproduct of the architects' desire to deny the Palestinians their basic rights, recognized under international law and UN resolutions, (which the GA, incidentally, seeks to annul), are premised on a single important factor: maintaining the "Jewishness" of the state of Israel at the expense of democracy and human rights of the victims of the project to create a "Jewish" state on Palestinian land.
Only a one-state solution will truthfully and justly resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Our Troops in Iraq
I have sent this letter to numerous government officials with responses from Vice President Cheney's office, Congressman Vito Fossella's office and the Department of Defense. I have also been interviewed by our local newspaper, the SI Advance and our local news station, NY1.
Here is my letter:
My husband, Sgt. Daniel G. McFadden, is one of the army reservists of the 310th Military Police Battalion, who were activated in January, 2003. He was then sent to Ft. Dix, NJ to begin his training for this deployment. After about a month and a half of wondering, worrying and waiting a decision was finally made and the 310th departed for Iraq this April.
The key point, my husband is a reservist; he did not join the Military to make this his full time career. He joined to serve his country and to help his family in the process. My husband has a civilian career; he also has a loving, devoted family which includes his two children who are only 9 and 7 years of age. I do not understand how our government can justify taking these men and women away from their normal, civilian lives for such an extended period of time. Not only are they loosing precious time with the people they love but our men and women are loosing their lives in the process.
We are expected, as Americans, to understand that this is what happens after we step in and try to help those who do not want or appreciate are help? We are expected, as Americans, to except this fact and say this is the how we liberate those who are less fortunate than us?
I truly believe that our men and women do not deserve to loose their lives for this. Our men and women are supposed to be rebuilding Iraq and obviously these people do not want our help. All I see, all I hear is how many men and women have lost their lives especially when the "war" is over.
How do I keep my children away from the news anymore? How do I explain to my children not to worry about their father when a tour that was suppose to be a year from the day he was activated turns into 18-24 months. How is this fair for them? How is this fair for my husband who not only has to worry about staying alive but has to worry about his family half way across the world? How is this fair for me to worry about him, our children, how I am going to keep our family unit together as well as working a full time job in the process to make ends meet?
I am not saying I disagree with the mission we are on. I am extremely proud of our Armed Forces. They continue to do an outstanding job everyday. I am extremely proud of my husband who continues to get up every morning go above and beyond to carry out his duties and still finds the time to make sure his family is okay. I feel that these "troops" have earned the right to be people again. They deserve to become a part of their family's lives again.
I hope and pray you can see the urgency of this matter. Iraq no longer needs our husbands, fathers, mothers, and wives on the other hand we do!
Please help me in my quest. It's time to bring our loved ones home.
Jim Lobe's article on cluster bombs violating the laws of war was right but really a moot point. The whole damn war violated international law, and Bush is a war criminal. The stated reason for this war was a lie, and now all the unelected idiot talks about is deposing an evil man and bringing the Iraqis democracy. Fact is, it is illegal to invade another nation in an unprovoked war of aggression, overthrow their government, try to murder their leaders, and force our form of government on them. Would W think it was legal for a powerful Islamic nation to come here, kill him and then force an Islamic theocracy on us? And as far as democracy in Iraq, that is another of Bush's non-ending string of lies. He is insisting on regional caucuses to appoint leaders rather than letting the Iraqis vote in general elections. He doesn't want a democratic Iraq, he wants a subservient and compliant Iraq. This whole war is about war profiteering and neo-fascist imperialism.
The crux point of the Taiwan issue is this: There are two constitutions across the Taiwan Strait, and both claim that there is only one China, apparently in different names. The US has never, never respected and recognized either of them, although there have been diplomatic relations through the 20th century.
If, the Taiwan people declare independence through referendum, those on the other side must participate in the decision, according to the current both constitutions.
The Taiwan issue is none of the US's business. And the Chinese hope the US will not commit another blunder, one similar to invading Iraq, which will inevitably end in huge costs of life and territorial destruction.
In addition, unlike the two parties in the US (both are right-wing parties), there are two wings in the Chinese communist party: the left and the right, a rivalry between capitalist and socialist systems. It is definitely more reflective of the people's opinions, in the name of Democracy.
In brief, Wen is capitalist, and Bush is capitalist. They do not want to see the Taiwan crisis block the way of capitalist globalization! That's all behind Bush's words!
~ Y. Wang